Regarding the March 14 editorial, “Cheating and the cheated“: Japanese universities need to introduce a system for evaluating the ability to take advantage of information.
In a highly networked information society, an increasing number of people suffer from information overload. Many people find it difficult to choose valuable information. In this situation, the ability to extract truly useful information is essential. The process of choosing students for admission to universities should be designed to evaluate their ability to organize thoughts and produce ideas based on carefully chosen information.
As the first step, perhaps a system should be introduced to allow students to use search engines when taking entrance examinations. Given thought-provoking questions that have no definite answers, students would be required to gather necessary information and explore creative responses.
Universities, meanwhile, should become a good judge of promising new students and focus on how to cultivate the special skills of each.
Once students make a fresh start in life, they soon realize that what they have memorized so far is not necessarily a thing of practical use. They are required to tackle thorny problems and to generate innovative ideas in many cases. Even graduates from a medical school, who accumulate a massive amount of knowledge, need to devise better treatment options by gathering up-to-date information, since medicine advances day by day.
With the rapid progress of globalization, Japan needs world-class talent. The employment rate among prospective university graduates, however, plunged to 60.8 percent in 2010. Experts say this is not only because business was slow but also because more companies employed talented students from abroad.
Japanese universities, therefore, need to produce as many competent individuals as possible. Necessity is the mother of invention, and now is the opportune time for introducing an effective entrance-exam system.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.